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Changing 2D CAD systems - or not

Changing 2D CAD systems - or not

(OP)
We have an older CAD program called ExpertCAD. It is supported on the latest builds of Windows, but you can tell it uses older Windows APIs. It performs oddly when run from a server or over long-latency connections in a way modern Windows programs do not.

IT really wants to move us to a terminal workstation system. This one program is the stumbling block - the interface performs poorly over the virtual and it's unlikely they will "fix" it since it requires recoding their entire interface. But IT has cost savings and security hazards that are better with the terminal workstation system. Plus ExpertCAD is really uncommon. (the other users still in existence are probably hipsters)

The other program to use is AutoCAD or AutoCAD LT. IME these programs have a huge assortment of complexity from their legacy - there are multiple ways to write text, multiple ways to make things appear or disappear, multiple ways to dimension and control dimension properties, etc. I'm concerned we'll never develop a useful mastery of them.

Of course there is the big hit when we train on the new CAD system and struggle back into productivity, and the endless tax caused by use converting old drawings into the new system when we want to make a new part based on the older part or revision.

Any tips for arguing a case to keep the old CAD system in place? Or tips for easing the transition and keeping AutoCAD from becoming the nasty animal it can sometimes be?

Thanks,

David

RE: Changing 2D CAD systems - or not

How much of your work is on this system V others?

Is maintaining just a couple of work stations with this installed as shared resource an option?

When you need to use this SW you go over and sit at the desk with the dedicated workstation? Or maybe remoting into that workstation - but the issues you mention probably preclude this.

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RE: Changing 2D CAD systems - or not

(OP)
We have 75,000 CAD drawings in this system over 25 years, and it's most of our drawings over the last 10 years. We must keep a couple of licenses in order to keep the original CAD data accessible.

The bigger question is working efficiency. We do a lot of custom work where we take an existing part, <change material of construction, add a bore, etc>. These are super-quick - open the file, save-as, edit, save, release to archive system. With AutoCAD, we would need to open, save-as .DXF or .DWG from ExpertCAD, open in AutoCAD, <fix some things>, and resume the workflow.

RE: Changing 2D CAD systems - or not

geesamand,

What is a "terminal workstation"? I recall terminals from my old UNIX days. They are not a good idea for CAD.

Sooner or later, you have to upgrade your software. This may happen abruptly when you upgrade your OS. This will be a nasty surprise if you are in the middle of a big, time critical project. If you have slack time to do it now, do it now.

I don't recall AutoCAD being particularly hard to run. For all 2D CAD programs, you have to figure out the object snaps. If your people are too dumb to run AutoCAD, I would wonder what else they are too dumb to do.

--
JHG

RE: Changing 2D CAD systems - or not

(OP)
VMware.

It's running Creo nicely. It runs AutoCAD well (or at least it did until recently, so there may be a bug fix outstanding), and it won't support ExpertCAD well. It runs up to 4 monitors.

The main downsides I see to virtual is it won't do user-specific devices (e.g. Spaceball, fancy mouse/keyboard), it won't support many user-specific application "settings" since each profile is flashed to an identical starting point each time. The upside is that once you live in that environment, you get centralized backups, excellent support from remote locations, fast file access to "network" locations since the VMWare lives in the server room, low cost per user. You can have high performance graphics cards / CPUs and large available RAM installed on the server to support heavy engineering applications.

David

RE: Changing 2D CAD systems - or not

Have you gone the other way, requested that IT pay what it would take to have a competent external party transfer all your ExpertCAD files (or at least any you suspect may need it erring on the side of creating extras not missing any) to new CAD system that does work to terminal based system.

Posting guidelines FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm? (probably not aimed specifically at you)
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RE: Changing 2D CAD systems - or not

Save your current system until you your old files are moved to a new software.
Too keep up with competition, I suggest move up to 3D (with MS Windows), and eventually import your old files.

Chris, CSWP
SolidWorks '16
ctophers home
SolidWorks Legion

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